By Deacon Chike Okafor, PhD
The last time I did a piece on why it should be Hope Uzodimma again, for Governor of Imo State, from 2024 to 2028, despite all odds, it was greeted with vain mudslinging rather than a convincing and valid argument that would have deepened the intellectual discourse on the journey to Douglas House 2024.
It is Vintage me, to not give credence to puerile display of loquacious ignominy and so I aim to further the conversation on the relentless affirmation of Governor Hope Uzodimma by the good people of Imo State; across the over Six hundred autonomous communities, three hundred and five wards, recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), twenty-seven Local Government Areas, ten Federal constituencies, and three Senatorial districts of Imo State.
The very fact that all the germane points put forward in my penultimate piece were totally ignored, in the barrage of responses that ensued shows the dearth of ideas among the crop of candidates angling for a chance at the plum job in Imo State Government house,and their few supporters.
And the point remains, that apart from mischievously clutching on the straws of insecurity, which is bedevilling the entire Southeast region, and struggling in vain to heap the blame of the entire eastern region on the Imo State Governor (which, by the way, unknowingly affirms and underscores the very indispensable and prominent position of the current Imo State Governor, in the scheme of things, east of the Niger), it is important to see other Governorship HOPEfuls, as it were, reel out their multi-sectoral vision of Governance for the Eastern Heartland State of Imo.
The recent mass movement which has seen people across political divides, Senatorial districts and religious inclinations coming together to throw their weight behind the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for the November 11 2023, Imo State Governorship election is a new trend, never before experienced, in the Forty – Seven years of the creation of the eastern heartland State of Imo.
Simply put, Imo State is on the verge of producing the very first Governor on a totally “Imo Unity Ticket.”
This is the very first time, that virtually all the Imo elites, across all sectors, political divides and religious denominations are coming together to see the need to give one man a chance to move the State forward. That man is no less a person than Governor Hope Odidika Uzodimma. And it is not just the elite, captains of industries and more, rather all classes of Imo people. From the civil servants, happy to receive their timely and hundred percent salary, alongside other novel and sustained benefits like the free transport scheme, to and back from work, which has been effective and uninterrupted since 2020 when this Government came on stream; one hundred and twenty – five thousand enrolees in the Imo State health insurance scheme, covering not just the civil servants but also other Imo people from different walks of life, and double promotion, for the first time in about seven years; the verified pensioners, elated to receive their regular pensions, before each month ends, to those now receiving their gratuity,
The transporters are not left out, in the gale of endorsements, obviously delighted at the reality of solid and durable roads, constructed by known and reputable constructed companies, which has greatly eased the movement of people, goods and services, as well as ushered a new lease of life to the endeavour of commuters, across town and villages linked by the over one hundred and fifty kilometres (combined) of dual carriages highways, built to specifics, and with approach roads, properly channelled drainages and bridges. The roads have greatly impacted on security and well – being of the people because they are fitted and finished with bright shining street lights that gives a feeling of dawn, even in the still dark night!
As an Okigwe son, bonafide and proudly so, granted that I can trace my roots, across generations, within Okigwe zone, I make bold to say that Gov. Hope Uzodimma has shown himself approved and deserving of another four – year mandate, in Douglas House, for very many and obvious reasons, which has variously been acknowledged by even his most vicious opponents and seeming adversaries.
A remarkable instance at peace building, which is one of the hallmarks of the current administration in Imo State is the charter of equity question, which, very recently, reared its head again, and the Governor showed leadership in navigating that armada to a plausible and realistic standpoint. The implication is that every progressive Imo resident now sees the need to allow the current Governor continue with his developmental strides, and at the end, midwife a peaceful transition,to another Senatorial zone, which is in tandem with the dictates of the charter of equity.
Come to think of it, the choice of Lady Chinyere Ihuoma Ekomaru, as the Deputy Governorship candidate and running mate to the incumbent Governor of Imo State, and candidate of the APC, Sen. Hope Odidika Uzodimma, struck many, like a bolt from the blues, and brings a gender balance which is evidently missing from the ticket of every other contender to the number one office in the State.
Again, the Imo Unity Ticket, brings a balance, even from the religious perspective and this piece cannot be complete if that fact is not drawn attention to. It is an undisputable fact that Lady Chinyere Ekomaru is of the Anglican communion, and of course, Senator Hope Uzodimma is a devout Roman Catholic church adherent.
From the foregoing, it is obvious, the very choice of running mate, by Governor Uzodimma, to discerning minds, speaks to the Unity ticket of the day.
It is no gainsaying and well acknowledged fact that the husband of the Deputy Governorship candidate, Chief Chukwuma Ekomaru (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), popularly known, in circles, by his title, Obiaozuma Ndigbo, is a notable member of a frontline opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and has variously been chief law officer of the party, in the state, which, by implication makes him a member of the State party Executive committee, and the State working committee, among other positions. He was also an aspirant for the governorship position in the state, under the same umbrella party.
The choice of his wife as running mate is a vocal expression of the cross – partisan mindset of Governor Hope Uzodimma, which beckons on all well – meaning Imo people, nay Nigerians, to give Imo State a chance, to get it right, with another four – year mandate, for Governor Hope Uzodimma, as a catalyst, to this Imo State Unity Ticket, which is a guarantee for peace in Imo State.
Let us remember that peace is a necessity for development.
(Hon. Deacon Chike Okafor writes from Umuokeh, Obowo, Imo State)